National Health Blog Post Month Day 14 – Wednesday, Nov. 14 Advice for dealing with negative feedback in your community
“People always do what makes sense to them.” ~Reverend C. Michael Cunningham (aka. My Dad)
Dad didn’t wait until I was pelvis-deep in the sensitive and oft taboo issues of female pelvic and obstetric health to share this sage advice. I think it started when someone didn’t want to be my friend, share a toy, or go on a second date (or a first date, for that matter…). And yet this piece of advice from him so long ago and so consistent through the years rings true as I deal with “negative feedback in my community” now.
I was again reminded of this advice when, in support of our Share MayFlowers movement, The Women’s Health Foundation graciously reposted my “mission” of sorts on their site, regarding which someone left a toxic comment. I wrote the piece as a heartfelt and strong testament to why I believed enough in the concept and necessity of Share MayFlowers as a cause to raise my voice…only to have “Ralph” leave a comment that my cause wasn’t really a cause, my advocacy was misplaced, and generally try to knock a few rungs from my ladder.
“People always do what makes sense to them”… Yeah, thanks, Dad. I think Ralph is a big fat jerk and doesn’t have the first clue about women, their bodies and what those bodies go through. Then I took a deep breath, realized that Ralph must have some reason for all of that vitriol, and that whether misplaced or not, his reaction made sense to him. I really wanted to respond to him with an all-out brow-beating, but thought better of it (after a few minutes…). And then to turn the tables, what made sense to me, was to respond with a dual measure of requesting community support – check out all the comments made to Ralph on Share MayFlowers’ behalf; far more meaningful than if he and I had just sparred on our respective opinions – and sarcasm. Hey, I get the sarcasm and humor from my dad, too.
And fittingly on Twitter, we discussed this exchange using the hashtag #WhoIsRalph? I’d love to see #WhoIsRalph surfacing again as emblematic of all the “Ralphs” of the world – healthcare providers, lovers, media, spouses – who fail to appreciate the reality and importance of dealing head on with sensitive women’s health issues.
Thanks to We Go Health for putting down the challenge of 30 Days, 30 Posts for National Health Blog Post month!